Published: 27 March 2012
The consumer confidence indicator stood at 8.0 in March, having been 8.3 in February and 3.4 in January. Consumers’ confidence in the economy was weaker in March than the long-term average. The long-term average for the confidence indicator is 12.9. One year ago in March the consumer confidence indicator received the value 17.7. The data are based on Statistics Finland’s Consumer Survey, for which 1,470 people resident in Finland were interviewed between 1 and 19 March.
Consumer confidence indicator (CCI)
Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, only expectations concerning Finland's economy weakened slightly in March from the month before. Views about the other components remained more or less unchanged. Views on Finland’s economy and especially of unemployment were negative. Consumers' confidence in their own economy was in March still clearly more cautious than the long-term average. In contrast, consumers assessed their own saving possibilities as good.
In March employed consumers felt personally somewhat more threatened by unemployment than before. In addition, consumers considered saving in March more worthwhile than purchasing of durable goods or raising a loan.
Consumers' own and Finland's economy
In March, 27 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 32 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. In February, the corresponding proportions were 29 and 30 per cent and in last year's March optimistic 38 and 18 per cent.
In all, 23 per cent of consumers believed in March that their own economy would improve and 14 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year. One year ago the respective proportions were 26 and 11 per cent.
Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time
Unemployment and inflation
Altogether 19 per cent of consumers thought in March that unemployment would decrease in Finland over the next year, while 48 per cent of them believed it would increase. Twelve months earlier the corresponding proportions were 32 and 29 per cent.
In March, 13 per cent of employed persons reckoned that their personal threat of unemployment had decreased over the past few months but more, or 19 per cent, of them thought it had grown. The corresponding proportions were 12 and 15 per cent in February and 16 and 11 per cent one year ago. In March, 46 per cent of employed persons thought the threat of unemployment had remained unchanged and 22 per cent felt that they were not threatened by unemployment at all.
Consumers predicted in March that consumer prices would go up by 3.1 per cent over the next 12 months. The long-term predicted average inflation rate is 2.2 per cent.
Saving and taking out a loan
Altogether 61 per cent of consumers considered saving worthwhile in March. In all, 66 per cent of households had been able to lay aside some money and 79 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.
In March, 56 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. Twelve months ago the respective proportion was 60 per cent. Slightly more households than before, or 14 per cent of them, were planning in March to raise a loan within one year.
Buying of durable goods
In March, 40 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for buying durable goods. Consumption intentions were still more moderate than usual in March, but many households had plans to spend money on, for instance, home renovations, domestic appliances or travel during the next six months. Fourteen per cent of households were fairly or very certain to buy a car and eight per cent a dwelling in the next twelve months. In last year’s March the corresponding proportions were 17 and 8 per cent.
Consumers' views of the economy
|Average 10/1995-||Max. 10/1995-||Min. 10/1995-||03/2011||02/2012||03/2012||Outlook|
|A1 Consumer confidence indicator, CCI = (B2+B4+B7+D2)/4||12,9||22,9||-6,5||17,7||8,3||8,0||-|
|B2 Own economy in 12 months' time (balance)||8,9||14,1||2,3||9,0||5,8||5,3||--|
|B4 Finland's economy in 12 months' time (balance)||4,5||25,3||-27,1||9,0||-2,2||-4,4||-|
|B6 Inflation in 12 months' time (per cent)||2,2||4,6||0,6||3,3||2,9||3,1|
|B7 Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time (balance)||0,5||27,6||-51,1||0,8||-17,6||-16,5||-|
|B8 Own threat of unemployment now (balance)||0,9||7,6||-18,8||5,7||0,2||-2,8||-|
|C1 Favourability of time for purchasing durables (balance)||20,5||41,8||-14,2||11,9||11,8||9,0||--|
|C2 Favourability of time for saving (balance)||11,6||36,8||-19,6||18,8||17,0||14,3||+/-|
|C3 Favourability of time for raising a loan (balance)||17,5||42,0||-47,1||12,4||7,2||11,4||-|
|D2 Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months (balance)||37,9||52,2||10,9||52,0||47,1||47,7||+|
The balance figures are obtained by deducting the weighted proportion of negative answers from that of positive answers. The consumer confidence indicator is the average of the balance figures for the CCI components. The balance figures and the confidence indicator can range between -100 and +100 – the higher (positive) balance figure, the brighter the view on the economy.
Explanations for Outlook column: ++ Outlook is very good, + Outlook is good, +/- Outlook is neutral, - Outlook is poor, -- Outlook is very poor. Deviation of balance from average has been compared to standard deviation.
The population and sample of the Survey
The population of the Consumer Survey comprises approximately 4.4 million persons aged 15 to 84 and 2.6 million households in Finland. The population was extended to persons aged 75 to 84 starting from January 2012. The gross sample size of the Survey is monthly 2,350 persons (previously 2,200 persons).
In March, the non-response rate of the Survey was 37.4 per cent. The non-response rate includes those who refused from the survey or were otherwise prevented from participating as well as those who could not be contacted.
The extension of the population, that is, responses from persons aged 75 to 84, is estimated to have weakened the value of the consumer confidence indicator by good one unit starting from January 2012.
The (seasonally adjusted) Consumer Survey results for all EU countries are released on the European Commission website: European Commission, DG ECFIN, Business and Consumer Survey Results; http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/surveys/index_en.htm
Source: Consumer Survey 2012, March. Statistics Finland
Inquiries: Pertti Kangassalo 09 1734 3598, Tara Junes 09 1734 3503, email@example.com
Director in charge: Riitta Harala
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